Sunday, September 14, 2008

2 long hours...

"Your case is... interesting." This is the last thing you really want to hear a doctor say to you... ever. But especially not when "you're case" involves 4 years of battling a type of cancer that is supposedly the "best" cancer to have, and the "easiest" to treat. I could really just create a blog dedicated solely to the idiotic things doctors tend to say. I'm almost half sure since I came around they've been forced to change their words just because I've proved to be an exception to almost every rule. But I get ahead of myself here.

It's also not an especially good phrase to say when the patient has been sitting around waiting for over two hours. When the intern comes in and also starts off by saying, "I've been reading through your file..." looks down at the 3 inch folder in front of him then turns to scroll through the computer version, "... it's really complicated,"... stops, winces, he knows that's the wrong thing to say... "its interesting." I hold my tongue from retorting something along the lines of, "well I think its pretty interesting that you are like a 6'7" Asian kid. Lets get sticks and poke each other out of fascination." I've had a bitter week and this is really the last place I want to be.

It does not help that I've been tired... yes I've been tired since May, I think. I also can't breathe, my eye tears up like its the only part of my body willing to outwardly portray how I feel more or less all the time. I'm only here for a check up; to meet my new doctor; to get my blood work done, just like i do every few months... is it 6 or 3 now? I'm never sure. I show up when I can be squeezed in. The doctor I've been seeing for years was offered a better position in San Francisco; I hope in a year to follow her. The nurse who takes care of me, has also changed locations, though just down the road... her missing presence is almost crushing to a person who strives on a certain level of continuity.

Two hours here. Its an endocrine clinic. Emphasizing diabetes and how to take care of that... only a few pamphlets for the thyroid cancer patients. And lets face it... by this point, all I can do is sort of scoff at such things.

This new doctor looks pretty young for how highly recommended he is. There lies double meaning with almost everything he says. "You're case is... interesting." This phrase encompasses about a bagillion meanings. "We have no idea whats wrong," "you defy reason," "we haven't been going about this the right way," "I could write something about you." I'm not surprised... it wouldn't be the first time since this all started that a doctor found me "interesting"... or asked to use me in a lecture... or decided to try something new out on me.

The next double meaning phrase. "We don't every want to do radiation on you again." Music to a bitter angry cancer patient's ears. "We don't think its worth the risk to keep doing something that hasn't worked." Then comes logic and reason rushing down like a thousand raging waves. They haven't even taken my blood and he's already telling me that he doesn't believe the last round of 222 milicuries of radiation has had any effect. He's telling me about how he has a plan, but he's also telling me that I still have cancer. No he keeps reciting stupid key phrases like, you have recurrence but it seems more like this is persistent. I don't even know if he realized right there that he just told me that I've never once in the past 4 years actually beat having cancer. Its one thing for it to keep coming back... but to have never won, not even one battle, when you thought you had... well now, that's devastating. No matter how you gift wrap it-- never do radiation again-- HA... if only such a phrase could really carry with it the sort of optimism it implies.

He said something about having a plan... yeah, i had a plan once too. It involved Americorp, law school, the State Department... living a life in worlds most people would only dream about but I would dare to go. But my dreams get disrupted every morning at 5am when i need to take my little dose of reality. I stuck with law school... more so out of necessity than anything else. Nothing like knowing if you leave school for a break... or even a good old medical leave, you lose your health insurance. So you struggle through it, even when you aren't quite right, when your head and your heart just aren't quite with it.... and you chug on trying to find ways to rework your plan... you accommodate, you bend... you learn to adapt, or just to give up what you want.

And so when you find yourself 4 years later, sitting in the doctors office for 2 hours, hoping that this will be quick and mildly painless. You'll go in, he'll feel your neck, draw blood, and that will be the first step in finally, finally, getting back to having your own life not ruled by a disease you cant see or feel... and then he steps in and with his double meaning phrases pulls you back down to the reality that you've dealt with for far too long.

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